We’re excited about a lot of gadgets this gift-giving season, but we were also sad to hear some of them won’t make it home in time for the holidays.
The first is the $349 Apple HomePod, the company’s high-end smart home hub and speaker. It was scheduled to launch in December but has been delayed to “early 2018,” which could mean anywhere from January to March.
Andru Edwards, co-host of our Geared Up podcast, says he’s disappointed the HomePod won’t be available for the holiday season, but there are alternatives for the audiophile on your list.
His first suggestion is the Sonos One, a high fidelity speaker with Alexa built in, and the similar Google Home Max, the high-end smart speaker in Google’s line. Neither will work natively with Siri and Apple HomeKit the way the HomePod would, but both share the high-end audio quality of the HomePod. At $199, the Sonos One is cheaper than the HomePod. The Google Home Max is more expensive, at $399.
The second delay comes from Amazon: The company has pushed back the current estimated arrival dates for the $130 Echo Spot, the bedside Alexa device with a small screen. The device is still technically slated for release on Dec. 19, but many customers won’t get the device until after the holiday season, even if they pre-ordered months in advance.
Andru and GeekWire’s Todd Bishop were both excited about the Spot when Amazon unveiled its new Alexa line, and the device was set up to be a good holiday seller. While there isn’t another device with all the same features as the Spot, Andru said the screenless Echo Dot can work as a last-minute replacement.
Update: In an email to GeekWire, Amazon said the Echo Spot has been sold out, not delayed, and emails received by customers about a delay were inaccurate.
Here’s the full statement: “Customer response to Echo Spot was incredibly positive and we are now sold out for the holiday season. Orders are filled on a first come, first served basis and customers can place an order to reserve their spot in line. The device will be released on Dec 19, and the first orders will be filled starting then. If you’ve already placed an order, your personalized delivery date (based on when you ordered) is in your order history.”
When we tried adding a Spot to our Amazon cart on Nov. 28, the predicted delivery date was in early January.
Also on this episode: We hear Todd’s report after using the Amazon Cloud Cam in his home for two weeks. The smart home security camera made a controversial splash when it was announced in conjunction with Amazon Key, the service that lets Amazon open your front door for delivery drivers and potentially other in-home services.
Todd tested the Cloud Cam without the Key service and said it went fairly well. He had a few complaints about simple software problems: For example, when he mounted the camera on his ceiling, it didn’t rotate the image so he was seeing the room upside-down. Important note: Amazon announced several updates to the camera on Thursday, after we recorded, that addressed that issue and others Todd encountered.
Also on this episode: We take a look at some of the top sellers over Black Friday and Cyber Monday and revisit Todd’s frustration with his iPhone X headphones.